We are hardy hikers so whenever we want to hike a trail, we will complete it. However there was one trail we had to turn back earlier than we would like; it was the Bearfence Rocks trail at Shenandoah National Park. The trailhead had a sign with a warning that the trail was not suitable for small children who have to be carried. The trail was only about 1.5 miles so we decided to give it a try. However, we overestimated Kadia’s ability and expected her to hike the trail as it was relatively short. We set off on the trail with me carrying Bryden on our dependable child carrier.
The trail started out relatively flat on hard compacted dirt. We quickly ran into the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is a 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. We hiked 3 small parts of the Appalachian trail on this trip: near Killington of Vermont, Harpers Ferry of West Virginia and Smoky Mountains NP. It is amazing that every year people can hike the whole trail. I think we probably hike on an average of 150 miles a year so it will take us 15 years to complete this trail. Wow! About 300 yards in, we started encountering many rocks protruding from the ground but it was still manageable as we navigated around them. Eventually, it became just rocks and the trail disappeared with occasional blue blazes as trail markers. The rocks were big and we had to scramble over many of them. Some of the rocks were taller than Kadia so we had to carry her across.
Eventually some rocks we had to scramble over were taller than me. With that, we decided that we shouldn’t proceed with Kadia anymore. I scrambled up to the top with Bryden while Susan and Kadia rested on a big rock below. Shenandoah is known for its Skyline Drive which runs for 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For many people who think driving through the Skyline Drive is equivalent of seeing the park are missing the real Shenandoah. At the top, I saw a panoramic view of the area. It was gorgeous with forested mountains everywhere. I went down to the rock where Susan and Kadia was to stay with Kadia so Susan could go up too see the great view.
Soon we headed back the trail with Kadia bravely climbing over, sliding down and jumping on many rocks. She probably think this was like a playground with ladders, slides and levels. She was a good sports and never complained. I had to admire her willingness and ability. I learned a lesson on this trail: if the trail sign indicated that it is not good for small children, there is usually a good reason.